C. Christopher Smith

C. Christopher Smith is co-author of the recent book Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus, and is also editor of The Englewood Review of Books.

Posts By This Author

Working for the Economic Flourishing of our Places

by C. Christopher Smith 07-16-2015
How Churches Can Engage in Economic Development of their Communities
East Washington Street Partnership

Image via East Washington Street Partnership

Over the last quarter century, groups like CCDA have challenged churches to be involved in community development, but there has been significantly less conversation about churches entering into the work of economic development. To do economic development well requires cultivating a wide range of collaborations – with government, corporations large and small, funders, non-profits, etc. – which is not only a slow, complicated, and intense work, but one that might raise theological red flags from many churches. I would challenge churches that might be uneasy about these sorts of collaborations to consider the image of the church in Ephesians 3, bearing witness of God’s wisdom to the powers and authorities. How better to bear witness than in relationships that focus on the health and flourishing of our neighborhoods?

None Shall Make Them Afraid: 5 Virtues of Responsible News Consumption

by C. Christopher Smith 04-09-2015
Image via Mangsaab/shutterstock.com

Image via Mangsaab/shutterstock.com

It was difficult to be a Hoosier last week, particularly as one caught in the crossfire between Indiana’s narrow-minded lawmakers on the Right and the rage of the political Left. The battle cry “Boycott Indiana!” reverberated through social media channels even though many Hoosiers vehemently oppose the discriminatory new RFRA law. My very own neighborhood mourned one of the casualties of this battle: a major economic development that was canceled when the funders heard about RFRA.

It was amidst this firestorm that I read Gareth Higgins’ superb essay “A Newsfeed of Fear” (Sojourners, May 2015). Given my present frame of mind, Higgins didn’t have to twist my arm to convince me that fear was a prevalent factor in the version of reality that we are fed through media channels.

Higgins’ essay reminded me of the prophetic hope of the Israelite people that is repeated throughout the Hebrew Bible: “None shall make them afraid.” If God’s people are indeed shaped by a perfect love that casts out fear, how then, I wondered, do we begin embodying an alternative to the newsfeed of fear in the way that we read, tell, and embody stories?

Higgins suggests that the answer to this question involves practicing the virtues of context, compassion, attention to detail, and pause. Space didn’t allow Higgins to elaborate on these virtues, so I would like to suggest my own interpretation and offer an additional fifth: gratitude.

 

Making Jesus a Patriot

by C. Christopher Smith 04-01-2015

One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, by Kevin Kruse 

Conquering A Great Divide

by C. Christopher Smith 03-09-2015

This is My Body: From Obesity to Ironman, My Journey into the True Meaning of Flesh, Spirit, and Deeper Faith. Convergent Books. 

Slow Down and Know That I Am God

by C. Christopher Smith 11-02-2012

Why it's time for a conversation about Slow Church.

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